Over 400k Unauthorized Immigrants In The US Are From India: Study

A migrant tries to cross into the U.S. from the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez, under the bridge that connects the border city with El Paso March 6, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer

According to a recent study released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), in 2018 people from India comprised an estimated 4 percent of the total unauthorized immigrant population in the United States.

From the total 10,977,000 estimated unauthorized immigrants, 469,000 people are from India. Sharing 51 percent of the total are 5,572,000 immigrants from Mexico, the MPI said using data US Census figures compiled from 2014–18 American Community Survey (ACS), pooled, and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

The top findings (all as of 2018) in the fact sheet published by MPI, relating to India, are as follows:

India was the top origin country for college-educated unauthorized immigrants followed by those from China, Philippines and Brazil. Countries were ranked by the educational attainment of unauthorized immigrant adults (ages 25 and older). 82percent of people from India have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11percent have a high school diploma and the remaining 7percent have an education lesser than high school.

Unauthorized immigrants ages 5 and older from India also had the highest rates of English proficiency at 72percent, followed by those from the Philippines and Brazil—the same countries showing the highest rates of educational attainment with the exception of China.

In 2018, unauthorized immigrants from India, the Philippines, Brazil, and Colombia had the highest family incomes, correlating with the groups showing both the highest educational attainment and strongest English skills. 77percent of Indian unauthorized Indians had income above 200% Federal Poverty Line (FPL).

Other findings in the study were as follows:

While the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has been largely stable over the past decade, there have been notable changes in the composition of the population, which has seen a sizeable drop in Mexicans alongside increased arrivals from other world regions, especially Asia and Central America.

The number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico fell from 7.6 million in 2007, right before the onset of the Great Recession, to 5.5 million in 2018. During the same period, the unauthorized population from Asia rose from 866,000 to 1.5 million, and the Central American one from 1.5 million to 1.8 million.

Overall, MPI researchers found that the unauthorized population stood at 11 million in 2018, down from its 12.3 million peak in 2007 but up slightly from its post-recession low of 10.5 million in 2017. Unauthorized immigrants made up 23 percent of the overall immigrant population in the United States in 2018 — down from 30 percent right before the onset of the 2008 recession.

“Looking ahead, future trends in this population’s numbers and characteristics will be shaped by the ongoing effects of the Trump administration’s ramped-up border enforcement, asylum restrictions and deportations; the impacts of the pandemic and the associated economic contraction in both the United States and origin countries; and the course the incoming Biden administration sets for U.S. immigration policy,” write authors Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto from MPI and Jennifer Van Hook from The Pennsylvania State University.




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